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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

RAK becomes celebrity zone as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fly down to the emirate

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are in Ras Al Khaimah, as Pitt works on the final stage of the film, War Machine.
Angelina Jolie, left, and Brad Pitt arrive for AFI Fest’s opening night debut of By The Sea in Los Angeles. Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP Photo
Angelina Jolie, left, and Brad Pitt arrive for AFI Fest’s opening night debut of By The Sea in Los Angeles. Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP Photo

Brangelina are in Ras Al Khaimah. Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have touched down in the UAE and – according to sources within the emirate – will remain in the country while Pitt completes the filming of his Netflix produced action drama War Machine.

As previously reported in The National, production in Ras Al Khaimah is set to continue until Monday.

The couple are said to have arrived last week after completing promotional duties for their new drama By The Sea.

The atmospheric film has both Pitt and Jolie (who is also the director) star as a jaded couple trying to resuscitate their fraught marriage – reviews of By The Sea has so far being lacklustre.

After walking the red carpet in Los Angeles last week, the couple have flown to RAK, where Pitt is currently working on the final stretch of shooting for the War Machine.

According to various sources close to the production, Pitt is joined by fellow cast members Topher Grace (who was last spotted in the UAE in 2011 to promote the spy thriller The Double as part of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival), Scot Mcnairy, Alan Ruck, and Will Poulter who posted on Instagram an image of himself being driven down Sheikh Zayed Road en route to Dubai, during a break from the Abu Dhabi filming on October 26.

The US$60 million (Dh220 million) project sees some of the urban and desert landscapes of the UAE double up as Afghanistan.

While last month’s urban Abu Dhabi shoot (which also starred Pitt) had the tight one-way road, off 15th street and parallel to Sultan Bin Zayed the First transform into locations including The American Embassy of Kabul and The International Security Assistance Force, filming in Ras Al Khaimah is centred around the former fishing town of Al Hamra which has been re-imagined as Pakistani villages and a military base-camp. New road signage and boards in Urdu have been erected, while helicopters and military lorries have been spotted in the old Emirati neighbourhood. Sources with knowledge of the production say that Pitt, Grace, Poulter, Mcnairy and Ruck were spotted wearing military fatigues during the filming.

This has been further complimented by various images appearing on Instagram of the RAK shoot. Sound recordist Farhad Rahmani posted on his Instagram account various images and video of a military helicopter taking off from a dusty military base.

While the ras_al_khaima.eu Instagram account shows a helicopter parking beside a series of military lorries – the post’s associated hashtags include filmset #rasalkhaima. The developments come on the back of The National’s recent exclusive interview with Bobby Joe Lewis who spoke of his experience as an extra on War Machine.

The 60-year-old ex-military man had confirmed to The National that production in Ras Al Khaimah began on November 4 with Pitt set to make an appearance portraying the real life character of General Stanley A McChrystal. Lewis says some of the scenes in the emirate will be tense. “They’re doing some door knocking and pulling people out of houses this week,” he said. “It’s going to be realistic. I think it’s the right-looking terrain. I’m quite sure he’ll [Pitt] be doing something [in Ras Al Khaimah] because that’s the kind of terrain where McChrystal was the clean-up man.”

The Ras Al Khaimah shoot also features plenty of UAE-based extras. Most of them came from a second casting call held at twofour54 by Miranda Davidson Studio, who were reportedly looking for former military personnel with specialised weapons experience.

artslife@thenational.ae

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